Coronavirus has led many major retailers to close. Here’s why Lowe’s, Staples, CVS and others are staying open.

COVID-19 has caused numerous retail chains to close temporarily, including Apple, Macy’s and Nike. Here is a look at some of the closures.

WochitNote: This story has the latest information on store closings and changes in hours.

The lights have gone out chain by chain.First came Apple. Urban Outfitters, Nike, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret followed.

As normal everyday life grinds to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic, some of the nation’s biggest retailers have temporarily closed thousands of stores across the country to help stem the spread of the virus. Simon Property Group, the largest owner of shopping malls in the nation, closed all of its properties on Wednesday.

Not everyone is deserting their posts, though. Businesses such as grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies that sell food, medicine and household essentials are keeping their doors open, though many are shortening store hours to have more time to clean and restock shelves.

Walmart, the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, is shortening hours beginning Thursday, for the second time in less than a week.

Those stores are joined by office supply and home improvement chains that say they too provide essentials.

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Home Depot has cut store hours because of the coronavirus but stores remain open. And then there are retailers like GameStop and Barnes & Noble, who are staying open with reduced hours and have taken steps to implement social distancing. Experts say these stores don’t fulfill a critical need in the same way as CVS and Home Depot.

Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy Global Data, put it bluntly.”They probably want to remain open to make money,” Saunders told USA TODAY, a move he said could be a mistake.

“There is increasing pressure from staff and from the public for these kinds of retailers to justify why they are open.”

Starting Thursday, Walgreens stores nationwide have adjusted hours. Most locations, including 24-hour stores, will be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. The drive-thru at 24-hour pharmacy locations will remain open for pickup of prescriptions and other select products.

Competitor CVS isn’t making a similar move at this time.”We currently have no plans to close stores or alter hours of operation unless directed to do so,” T.J. Crawford, CVS Health vice president, external affairs, said in a statement to USA TODAY.

Lowe’s hadn’t changed hours at its nearly 2,000 stores as of Wednesday, spokeswoman Jackie Pardini Hartzell said, noting “stores continue to stay open as we are providing essential supplies for customers, government officials and first responders.”.

Rival Home Depot is temporarily shortening hours and closing nightly at 6 p.m., spokeswoman Margaret Smith told USA TODAY, adding the retailer is “committed to keeping stores open just as we always do during times of crisis and natural disaster.”

Staples and Best Buy also are staying open with shorter hours.

Staples said in a statement to USA TODAY that it plans to remain open “to support local communities in their new realities of working and learning from home.”

Best Buy has reduced hours and, on March 23, will begin permitting a small number of customers into the store at a time and is working to enhance its curbside service, CEO Corie Barry said in a letter to customers.

“You are turning to us for help getting the technology that allows you to continue running a small business or shift your usual job from an office setting to your home,” Barry said. “You are turning to us to help your children continue their education outside of their classroom.”

Curbside pickup is coming of age during the pandemic, both with restaurants and retailers.While Dick’s Sporting Goods closed all of its stores Wednesday, it will continue to offer curbside pickup for online orders. So will Nordstrom, which closed its department stores Tuesday.

GameStop is offering curbside delivery, only allowing 10 customers in stores at a time and creating a six-foot parameter between customers in checkout lines, Gary Riding, the company’s senior vice president of store operations, said in a statement to USA TODAY.

Riding said the gaming company has implemented the changes “so that we can be there for our customers as they are looking for sources of normalcy in their life during this stressful time.”

In an email to customers, Barnes & Noble asks customers to observe social distancing and understand “why we have removed the usual seating and similar furniture.” Planned events through the end of April have also been cancelled.

News Reporter

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